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Hungary signs deal on astronaut mission

Hungary on Tuesday signed an agreement with US-based Axiom Space that will see the country send another astronaut to space after several decades, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Austin on Tuesday.

The Hungarian government, under the country’s space industry strategy, recently decided to send an astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) whose 30-day mission will involve testing various equipment and conducting scientific experiments, Szijjarto noted, according to a ministry statement.

The list of tasks to be performed by the astronaut will be put together by Hungary’s space industry players and universities, the minister said.

“These tests will contribute significantly to the development of Hungary’s high value-added high tech industries, be they health science or any other developments linked to modern industries,” he said.

The Hungarian astronaut will be part of a four-member international mission, Szijjarto said.

Under the agreement signed with Axiom Space, the mission will be launched between October 2024 and early 2025, he said.

Exactly when the mission will take place will depend on the spaceflights scheduled by NASA and the ISS, as well as the other three international astronauts’ training schedules, Szijjarto said.

The minister noted that Hungary has narrowed its list of applicants for the space mission down to four candidates. They will begin the first phase of their training and tests in Austin and Houston next month, after which the list of candidates will be narrowed down to two, he said. Hungary’s second astronaut will be chosen directly before the mission’s launch, he added.

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